I just got an offer of a complimentary copy of a book if I would be willing to review it. I get these offers from time to time but what was unusual this time was in the choice of me as a potential reviewer. The book is about the Rapture, the supposed end of the world that some Christians believe is imminent and will signal the beginning of a massive, long, and bloody fight between the forces of Jesus and the forces of Satan as represented on Earth in human form by the Anti-Christ, whom some think is Barack Obama.
The key point is that true Christians will escape the carnage because just before the Rapture begins, they will all be whisked away to heaven from which they can watch the battle unfold, maybe on pay-per-view or something, while those left behind will have to suffer the consequences of their sinfulness by suffering through the End Times. I am a little confused as to who on Earth will remain behind to fight on the side of Jesus. Shouldn’t they also have been raptured, since they are presumably good people? At least, that is what I think the Rapture portends, though it is all kind of confused because the predictions are largely based on the Book of Revelation that reads like the author John wrote it while high as a kite.
According to the review offer that I got, the author says that she was inspired to write the book after “was transported into the future and saw an archangel blowing the shofar to signal the Rapture. A battle between her and her family against Satan ensued. He tried to stop this book from being released. She has a strong message for gangs, drug abusers, adults, teenagers, and the youth. Everyone should know what the angel said about being Rapture ready.”
The author’s statement as why she wrote the book is interesting, to put it mildly.
“I am not a preacher, prophet, or an evangelist. However, I am a person who loves the Lord and continuously studies prophecy. An archangel appeared before me and explained “how the Rapture will occur.” Afterwards, I started seeing a number of visions that all people need to know in order to prepare for the end time. Most of the visions are frightening and one should prepare herself/himself before reading this book.”
Her attached bio says that she published a horror novel in 1983 and is “an author of children’s books on respect and character education… She is an avid prophecy student of the Bible and has received many prophecies from the Lord to acquaint the public with “what lies beyond the Veil.””
The book might be fun to read and I am sure that I would have had a good time writing a caustic review. So why will I not accept the offer? Because I know I am going to find it hilariously bad. I have no scruples about writing a bad review. But I never accept an offer to review something if I am convinced before I even start that it is going to be rubbish. I have to start out feeling fairly neutral or positive about a book. It is not fair to an author for the reviewer to start out antagonistic and use the opportunity of a review to trash the work.
As an example of the things I might have written, the author says that there was a battle between her family and Satan and that the latter tried to stop the publication of her book. Clearly Satan has failed, which does not say much about his powers. If he could not deal with a single family or prevent the publication of a mere book, how is he going to fight Jesus? I also think of Satan as being a big picture, strategic thinker, CEO kind of guy who does not get involved in personal fights and details, leaving those to his minions to deal with.
What puzzles me is I was asked me to review this at all, since even a cursory knowledge of my writings would have told them that I would be an extremely hostile reviewer. If she is a prophecy student and has seen the future, wouldn’t she know people who are likely to agree to review it positively? I can only assume that I am on some massive list of addresses that contains everyone who writes about religion in any way and does not discriminate at all.